|Credit: Mark Jones, Painted Bunting Observation Team|
I came across the website of the North Carolina based Painted Buntings Observer Team. It's latest blog entry, dated Aug. 31, said that the buntings had already been spotted in north Florida, which is quite a bit earlier than usual. (The redstarts appeared in my garden in August, which is also way earlier than usual; I wonder what they know that we don't?) Anyway, it means that painted buntings should be arriving in South Florida any day, if they're not already here. Time to make sure there's plenty of white millet in the feeders.
(For those who are not familiar with it, the painted bunting, Passerina ciris, is one of the continent's most colorful birds.)
I'd also read somewhere that migrating birds show up on radar, so I asked a friend, a meteorologist at the Miami National Weather Service office, if the NWS ever tracked migrations. His answer was no, however he did say:
"... the Doppler Radar imagery right around sunrise can give you an idea if there's an increase in bird population. There is usually a small ring or circle that expands outward in the area of the Everglades which occurs for about 10-20 minutes in the early morning. If you play a movie or loop of the base reflectivity radar imagery, you'll probably see it."I got up too late this morning to catch it, but if you are an early bird, pardon the pun, please let me know if you see anything. Don't forget to hit the "refresh" button on the lower right.